Recovery from Rhinoplasty – Day 1 to One Year

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The facial plastic surgery known as a rhinoplasty is an operation conducted on the nose to alter its size or shape.  Because the nose is comprised of fragile bones and very soft cartilage, it is a delicate operation that requires a longer length of time to heal.  A complete understanding of the healing process and what to expect will help prepare any rhinoplasty candidate.

Immediately following surgery, Dr. Cory Torgerson places a cast and packing on the nose.  The cast acts like a splint and protects the area from being bumped or from shifting.  Tape is used to apply gentle pressure on the cast and is effective in reducing swelling and keeping the cast intact.   The patient will wear the cast for one week before it is removed.

Swelling, bruising, and slight blood loss are normal during the initial week.  Dr. Torgerson advises his patients to sleep in an elevated position with their head higher than their heart, as this minimizes the swelling significantly. The amount of bruising experienced depends on the surgical technique used and the patient themselves.  Dr. Torgerson normally prefers to use the closed method of surgery, where the incision is made under the nose.  This enables him to achieve more satisfactory results and greatly reduces the amount of swelling his patients might experience.  If nasal bones need to be broken in order to achieve the desired result, there will be more bruising.  Often this results in black eyes. There are many factors that determine the amount of swelling and bruising, such as blood disorders, age, skin thickness, medications that thin the blood, and basic general health.

With the use of pain medication, a person should be able to sleep and eat normally after the first day.  Ice packs applied to the cheeks in the first 48 hours help reduce swelling.  Rhinoplasty patients experience stiffness in their upper lip and may find it difficult to smile during the first few weeks.

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Recovery from Rhinoplasty – Day 1 to One Year

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After the cast is removed, patients should not yet expect to have the nose they chose in their consultation with Dr. Torgerson.  It is perfectly normal for the area to still be swollen.  By the end of the second week, the bruising and swelling will have subsided significantly, and the patient should feel comfortable appearing in public without being conspicuous.  As the healing process continues and the swelling reduces, the appearance of the nose will alter and settle.  It is important to realize that the nose will look puffy to the patient for 3 to 4 months post-operation, but normal to everyone else.

The majority of the healing takes place in the first 3 months following a rhinoplasty.  Depending on how much the tip of the nose has been altered, it can take up to one year to achieve complete healing.  This should not discourage any potential candidate, as this is often only noticeable to the surgeon who completed the surgical procedure and possibly to the patient.

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